The Swedish government stands up for nicotine pouch users in the Netherlands
04th Sep 2023
The Netherlands is considering a total ban on nicotine pouches, something that disappoints consumers who have found a viable substitute for the more harmful act of smoking.
Bad to group nicotine pouches with smoking
The proposal aims at a nationwide ban, as policymakers want to reduce overall nicotine dependence – a goal they have pursued by implementing smoke-free zones, among other measures. However, the issue at hand is that nicotine pouches should not be equated with cigarettes. In the case of cigarette addiction, it’s not primarily the nicotine that causes the most harm; it’s the inhalation of smoke that primarily damages the user.
Due to the adverse health effects of smoking, many consider nicotine pouches as an alternative to smoking, which has shown to positively impact health and extend lifespans. The hasty and poorly justified decision by the Dutch authorities is thus an insult to all those who successfully quit smoking and transitioned to nicotine pouches.
The ban is not well justified
Grouping nicotine addiction into a single category is an ineffective approach to help people overcome harmful dependencies like smoking. A more suitable approach is to offer knowledge about alternative products to cigarettes, the so-called “harm reduction” strategy, rather than introducing bans that arbitrarily and uninformed lump everything together. Such bans would allow smoking to continue dominating with its harmful effects on people’s lives.
See the Dutch motivation for ban of products containing nicotine here.
The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs comments on the proposal by stating:” A ban is a highly intrusive measure. Therefore, it requires that the ban is well justified.”
A country that has succeeded well with its harm-reduction strategy is the United Kingdom, where vaping is promoted to reduce the number of smokers. With the help of this strategy, the NHS (National Health Service) has decreased the number of smokers in the UK, a strategy that the Netherlands could embrace.